Grace and Race?

by Anna Hartge

By Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Founder & President

When I adopted “grace and race” as the words to help define my personal ministry, I believed that through the faith in the unmerited favor of God, we as believers in Christ can work through everything that confronts us in life.

The notion that providing safe, informative spaces to explore our deepest concern and fears about race, especially in the context of Black America, felt like a calling.

But from the troubling, tragic death of Trayvon Martin until the issuing of the Grand Jury decision not to indict in the death of Michael Brown, during these distressing months and weeks I have been choking on my own retreat into silence.

Silent because the question that continues to haunt me is “Is grace enough?” The words linked by the conjunction “and” are now heard as an oxymoronic statement. Silent because though these words share the same letters of the alphabet, in our current climate many will ask, what is the role of grace in these circumstances. Silent because I don’t have answers to the questions, “What message do these tragedies send to the boys of color across our nation?” “What good can possibly come out of the continued, loss of the lives of young African American men?

And yet, even without answers, I still trust in the power of God to help us move beyond these painful moments. I trust God to use the pain of today as building blocks for justice as the pain leads to constructive community engagement in the quest for justice. Through grace we can honor the wishes of the father of Michael Brown and supported by President Obama:

“Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer. No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”

I pray for grace. Grace is a gift from God. Through grace we will put our faith into action. Through God’s grace we find the strength to move mountains of pain and despair. Through grace, we will work for peace in the midst of injustice.

Grace matters.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

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